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Evanston Anti-War Forum Draws Over 100

The devastation of an entire country was exhibit #1 in a moving indictment of U.S. foreign policy by Voices in the Wilderness (VITW) representatives Theresa Kubasak and Gabe Huck on Feb. 3rd. Over 100 listened as Kubasak and Huck contrasted the obliterated Iraq of today, with Iraq before the US war in 1992. (article 2)
The devastation of an entire country was exhibit #1 in a moving indictment of U.S. foreign policy by Voices in the Wilderness (VITW) representatives on Feb 3rd. VITW spokespeople Theresa Kubasak and Gabe Huck narrated a wrenching slideshow as part of a forum sponsored by Evanston’s Neighbors for Peace and the Unitarian Church of Evanston. Over 100 listened as Kubasak and Huck contrasted today’s Iraq with Iraq before the US war in 1992.

Pre-1992 Iraq: Universal, free health care for all men, women & children.

Iraq Today: One out of three children is malnourished, and 1 in 8 dies before their eighth birthday, according to Unicef. An estimated 5000 children die each month due to the US-backed sanctions.

Pre-1992 Iraq: Over 90% literacy, with free education for boys and girls through university.

Iraq Today: The literacy rate is tumbling and the school drop out rate has doubled, as all family members are needed to work, and children barter family possessions on the streets in order to survive.

Kubasak noted that while Saddam Hussein’s regime was every bit as brutal before 1992 as it is today, the sanctions promoted by the US leave him untouched while imposing extreme misery on the country’s population. In cities which previously had sanitation on a par with many “First World” countries, lakes of open sewers spread disease as spare parts for water treatments plants and even garbage trucks are banned under the sanctions regime.

Also featured at the forum were Amnesty International’s Nancy Bothne who, in answer to a person who questioned if anything could be done through activism, noted some partial victories that people have already won. Three recent examples she cited were the now-internationally accepted classification of rape as a war crime, the indictment of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet by a Spanish court on charges of crimes against humanity, and the likely charging of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon with similar crimes by a Belgium court.

The final speaker at the forum was Bill Taylor of Seeds of Peace, an organization which organizes summer camps of teenagers from both sides of various conflicts of the world, bringing them together in a non-judgmental environment where they can get to know their peers in “the enemy camp.” Taylor cited an incident from the Israeli/Palestinian war as an example of the influence of the camps. One of the camp’s “graduates” was the child of a Palestine Authority diplomat who lives on the West Bank. When a flash flood hit that family’s city, killing several, none of the diplomat’s Israeli counterparts bothered to phone to make sure he was safe, yet several of the child’s Israeli peers did so.

All in all, the Neighbors for Peace/Unitarian Church event was one that few of its participants are likely to forget soon. To get involved with Neighbors for Peace, call 847.733.7141; to get involved with the Unitarian Church’s Peace and Justice Group, phone 773.728.7961.

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Photo captions:
#1 -- Large crowd welcomed by forum emcee Rev. Ann Tyndall, Unitarian Church of Evanston.
#2 -- Theresa Kubusak, Voices in the Wilderness, who along with Gabe Huck recently visited Iraq, in defiance of State Department threats against them for doing so.
#3 -- Nancy Bothne, Midwest Regional Director, Amnesty International.
#4 -- Bill Taylor, Seeds of Peace.
#5 -- Crowd shot.
 
 

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